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Dirty Moons

(Scat; US: 26 Aug 2008; UK: Available as import)

Dirty Moons was fifteen years in the making. Recording the album sporadically over that long stretch of time, Cleveland’s Prisonshake have come out with a finished product that spans over 22 tracks and two discs. Suffice it to say, the results are all over the map. They maintain their long-ago established psych-touched power-pop sound, and occasionally incite some head bobbing with songs like “Favorite Hospital” and “We’ve Only Tasted the Wine”. But too often the band sounds like they lost sight of this project a while ago.

“Scissors Suite”, a collection of songs that takes up the better part of the first disc, is a jumbled mess of disconnected song snippets with no discernible connection to each other. The 10-minute plus “Year of the Donk (Including the Leftover Monkey)” has some good rock song moments, but gets bogged down in itself and undone by goofy lyrics. In fact, Prisonshake manage to be both goofy and self-serious at the same time on Dirty Moons. And they are always willfully aimless, breaking up songs with useless chunks of noise or sound bites instead of just finishing the song. You can hear fifteen years worth of work on Dirty Moons, that’s for sure, but more than a few of those years could have definitely stayed in the cans.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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